Thursday, 5 August 2010


There is an old English saying--"That's a horse of another colour"---basically meaning that it is a whole new story---or it is something else completely-----but this is the literal meaning

OK, if you have read here for a while, you would know that I have been tied up with racing horses from one code or another for far too many years.
My first foray into harness racing / trotting involved becoming a client of an 84 year old female trainer.

Now this lady had come to Australia from England with her husband and family, bringing an English thoroughbred stallion to our shores.
She was a brilliant horsewoman who had a great love of horses.
She had been involved with show riding all of her life and working thoroughbred gallopers for so many years----she was from an era where harness horses were not just for racing but were an accepted way of transport.

OK, so I had been with her for a few years and had been well educated by her and her 65 year old stable foreman, in racing harness horses and the respect for and caring for horses----they were people who had a great respect for the animals in their care and I had almost become part of their stable team.

Now here's the story----
I had my own horse transporting float
Now we had three horses racing at one of our country track in a midweek races---
So, Clyde, can you take a day off work and transport one of the horses for us ?---of course, I'm going to do it.
Now I get to the stables ready to go and my lovely old trainer tells me to take the horse that is in the first race---he is not a good traveller and that I should head off as soon as I can to give him time to settle in on the race course---
It was a nice warm day and I had brushed this magnificent looking grey horse out and had him ready to go----but as I loaded him, my old trainer yelled out that I should travel him in a woolen rug---get one out of the trunk in the harness room---a good one, a clean one-----so of course I did----this beautiful red English rug with contrast trimmings.

OK, so they told me that he travelled badly but it was a horror trip to the racecourse---this horse kicked out and moved around the float every mile of the trip.
I got to the course and unloaded the horse----I noticed that the bottom of the float was wet, not only from his urine but from sweat---I took the horse to his tie up stall and took off the red rug----there it was----oh shit.
The dye had run from the red rug and I had a pink horse on my hands.
It was before mobile phones, so I was alone with this pink horse, due to race in about 90 minutes.

I went to the chief racing steward and asked for a veterinary inspection and a stewards inspection on the horse----
All they could do was laugh but there was nothing wrong with him and he was cleared to race.
I was harnessing him up when the chief steward came down to see him----sorry Clyde, I had to come down when they told me he was pink----and walked off laughing.
I couldn't help but think of what my dear old lady trainer was going to say when she saw him but that turned out to be the least of my worries----
The other car and float carrying my trainer, her daughter and the stable foreman had broken down, so I was left to get this pink horse into the parade ring and onto the race track.
His race driver came to take him from me in the parade ring and all he could say was---fuck Clyde, he's pink, he is actually fucking pink----
Great observations, but I gave him his instructions and let him head off to the track---my instructions could have been to hide the big pink bastard in the field but he had not won in 14 starts, so it was all about confidence.
I saw my trainers car arrive as I left the parade ring and went to help them unload the other two horses---they were more worried about how I had got on with the big grey---I said nothing other than he was on the track and ready to go.

Now luckily my trainer had this superstition thing about not watching her horses race, so it was only the stable foreman and I who walked up to the mound to watch the race.
The first thing he said was, fuck, that horse looks pink, now where is Pookie----I've gotta tell you something Jim----and I told him the whole story
Now Threyshun, stable name Pookie, had never won a race and we weren't too confident after his trip and change of colour, but of course he just had to stand out to the crowd and jump to the front.
The course commentator had to make comment on his colour which confused my poor old trainer who was listening in----
I think it was the only time on a racetrack that I was almost hoping for the horse to drop out and finish in the middle of the field and old Pookie had never won a race, but of course he lead from start to finish.

My dear old trainer was extatic until she saw Pookie heading back to the stall---and when the chief steward turned up, she thought we were going to be swabbed for drugs and tried to explain the colour-----but the chief steward laughed and congratulated her on the first pink horse to race and indeed win a race.

She would never again let me leave home with a horse until she had inspected it and its rugs.
Threyshun's owners lived interstate and commented when they got his racing photo that he looked a little pink----my trainer said it must be some tint in the photo.

Never before and never again has a pink horse raced on any track in Australia---maybe I hold a world record that will never be broken.

Oh, Threyshun---he never won another race


The Invisible Seductress said...

But he was a fashion icon in the horse world!!!

KJ said...

Ha ha ha, that is gold! :o)

Clyde said...


Pookie was a magnificent looking grey but I have to admit, the pink suited him----
I did think about dying him again for another race
He did set his own fashion

Clyde said...


My one regret is that I never got a photo of him in all his pink glory.
It was a very funny day and the chief steward used to remind me of if quite often---"So Clyde, what colour do we have today"

Anonymous said...

Pink... that was original. :D

Really, you should have taken pictures of him.


Venom said...

Oooh, I love it! (clapping hands)

The old boy surely felt himself something special that day. Maybe if you'd have found a rainbow of blankets he could have been a world beater.

Clyde said...


I was more worried about what my trainer would say.
She was a very proper English lady.
Everything had to be done right or not at all----she would have died if she knew some of the things her stable foreman and I did to win a race---lawful, but unorthodox

Clyde said...


I thought you would like it---
You will never look at a grey in the same way
But I will always remember Pookie

Sister Christian said...

Nice! Dude that has to be a record. A fashion record in the horse racing world or somethin'. Bravo!

Clyde said...

Sister Deb

Of course you would have had a camera with you.
He was a trend setter on the day

Dutch Sugar Babe said...

Too funny! I have always wanted a pink horse. Um... well, I wanted one as a kid. I blame My Little Pony.

Pookie vs. Threyshun.
I like Pookie better :)
But Threyshun is a more 'manly' name.

Clyde said...


He was a bit on the big side to keep under your bed---but would produce good manure for your garden.

All of the race horses get their registered racing name---but most stables give them a stable or pet name----Pookie actually suited him

Macy said...

Hey he won!! Pink must be his (your???) lucky colour!

Clyde said...


Hey, I'm not frightened of pink but it's not my colour---I'm more of a blue bloke---although a friend from work told me that her husband always got lucky when he wore his green jocks
Being that a very reserved woman told me that, I have a fair bit of green in my underwear drawer--no, not mould